KJ Apa talks Riverdale season 5, prom, and playing a more mature Archie post-time-jump
Riverdale is about to make a bold move. After the first few episodes of the upcoming fifth season see the characters experience the monumental teenage moments of prom and graduation, the series will jump seven years into the future. (And Veronica's married!)
EW spoke with Archie himself, KJ Apa, about everything from prom to playing a more "mature" Archie in the future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When season 4 ended, Archie and Betty [Lili Reinhart] had agreed to stay with Veronica [Camila Mendes] and Jughead [Cole Sprouse], but they hadn't really resolved their feelings for each other. Is Archie still grappling with his feelings for both Betty and Veronica when season 5 picks up?
KJ APA: He is. He's conflicted as to whether or not he's going to tell Veronica about what happened just before prom, and I think that kiss definitely weighs a lot on his mind in that first episode, because there's so much going on. He doesn't really know where his future is going to lie, and he has to deal with that whole thing. So there's a lot of things that are going to come to a head in that first episode that will determine the trajectory of the rest of the season for Archie.
You mentioned prom, which is something every teen looks forward to. How would you describe Archie's prom experience?
I don't think his prom experience is the best, just because he has so much going on. He doesn't know if he's going to graduate. He's trying to get into the Naval Academy, he doesn't know where that's going to go. The whole kiss with Betty hasn't been figured out up until prom as well. So I wouldn't say he's necessarily looking forward to it.
After prom, we're coming up on graduation, which is a huge moment in anyone's life. Does Archie get even a moment to celebrate?
I don't know. I feel for Archie. He has been through so much, like all the characters, but I feel like that's just part of his deal — he's a fixer and he's also a bit of a people pleaser. I feel like he's always putting other people, especially his best friends or not even his best friends, anyone really, before himself. And because of that, he's always left behind a little bit, left to figure a lot of things out on his own.
The mystery of the Auteur carried over from last season. As usual, Jughead and Betty are leading the charge in solving it, but does Archie come into the fold?
Yeah, I think Archie is more like the muscle in those kinds of operations, when Jughead or Betty decide that they need it. Archie wasn't necessarily designed to be a guy who's just uncovering crimes, so when that stuff does happen, usually it's because they need some kind of muscle. And I also think when they do bring him and Veronica in, because they're so different to Jughead and Betty, they usually spread light on all the flaws in Jughead and Betty's plans that they didn't necessarily think about before. So I feel like he plays a pretty big part, or at least has played a big part, in some of those little crime things.
Well, obviously the big thing coming this season is the time jump. What has the experience of playing an Archie that's much closer to your own age been like for you?
It's nice, honestly, it's really refreshing. Coming back to the season, that was something that I didn't realize it'd be nice to be able to play, to add that certain level of maturity to the character that wasn't necessarily there before.
Parts of the premiere almost have a series-finale feel. Does the time jump feel like the end of one Riverdale and the start of another?
Yeah. I mean, it has to be. Although we are still in Riverdale and we are still tied into the school in certain ways, in the time jump I feel like we had to refresh our audience with a new theme, which is the fact that we're all a lot older. And I feel like that in itself, the fact that we're all older and a lot of time has passed, no one's really kept in touch over that six years, it adds a lot more things to play with.
How has Archie changed during those years?
He's been through a lot in that little period of time. And I feel like he really has matured. I think years 17 through to 25 are life-shaping years for any young adult. At least for me — and I know my circumstances are different, being on a show and stuff — but most of the tough things that I had to go through and am still going through were in that short little period of time. Who knows, it's still going though, so maybe that's just life.
Riverdale returns Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.